Plumeria alba
Common Name: West Indian jasmine
Type: Tree
Family: Apocynaceae
Native Range: Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White with yellow center
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where plants are best grown in rich, dry to medium moisture, well-drained loams in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Avoid wet soils. Plants are deciduous. They lose their leaves and stop blooming during winter/dry season. In cooler climates, plants may be grown in containers with a well-drained sandy potting mix. Container plants must be overwintered indoors with reduced temperatures (50-55 degrees F.) and significantly reduced watering. Easily propagated from stem cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Plumeria alba, commonly called white frangipani or nosegay, is a small rounded deciduous tree of the dogbane family that grows in a vase-shape to 15-25' tall. It features fragrant white flowers with yellow centers. Upright branches are thick but weak, and have a milky sap. This species is native to Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles, but has been introduced into a number of tropical areas around the world. Very fragrant 5-petaled flowers (to 3" wide) bloom in terminal clusters at the branch tips from spring to fall. Flowers are white with yellow centers. Oblong-lanceolate green leaves (to 12" long) are spirally clustered at the stem ends. Fruits are cylindrical pods (to 8") that are rarely formed in cultivation.

Genus name honors Charles Plumier (1646-1704), French monk of the Franciscan order, botanist and traveller.

Specific epithet means white.

Common name of frangipani is from the name of a 16th century Italian nobleman who created a perfume with a similar scent.

Plumeria flowers (particularly those of Plumeria rubra) are used to make leis and a scented oil in a number of Pacific islands including Hawaii.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for scale, mealybugs, thrips, whiteflies and nematodes. Root rot may occur in overly moist soils. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Tropical specimen for frost free areas. Effective near decks and patios or the front porch. For areas South of USDA Zone 10, it must be grown in containers which are overwintered indoors. Widely grown in greenhouses.